Egypt, Japan, Senegal, Ukraine and Uruguay elected non-permanent members of UNSC

United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) elected Egypt, Japan, Senegal, Ukraine and Uruguay to serve as non-permanent members on the UN Security Council (UNSC). These members will serve the UNSC for two-year terms beginning on 1 January 2016 until 31 December 2017. Egypt and Senegal will replace Chad and Nigeria from Africa Group, Japan will replace Jordan to represent Asia-Pacific Group, Uruguay will replace Chile to represent Latin America and Caribbean States Group and Ukraine will replace Lithuania to represent Eastern European Group. The Western European and Others Group did not contest for any seats in 2015, as its two seats (currently held by New Zealand and Spain) are up for election every even calendar year.

Pakistan and Russia sign agreement to build 1100 km Gas Pipeline
Pakistan and Russia have signed an agreement to build a 1100-km gas pipeline stretching from Karachi on Arabian Sea to the eastern city of Lahore.  In this project, Russia will invest 2 billion US dollars and it will be built by Russian company RT Global Resources, a subsidiary of Russian state corporation Rostec. The pipeline is expected to get completed by December 2017. The project will help develop a multi-dimensional relationship with Russia in the fields of defence, trade, energy, culture, infrastructure and other spheres. Earlier in August 2015, Pakistan and Russia signed a landmark defence deal for the sale of 4 Mi-35 Hind E attack helicopters to Pakistan.

India submits INDC to UNFCC   
India has submitted the following INDC to UNFCC:
1.    Promotion of a healthy and sustainable way of living based on traditions and values of conservation and moderation.
2.    Adoption of a climate-friendly and a cleaner path than the one followed hitherto by others at corresponding level of economic development.
3.    Reduction in the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 per cent by 2030 from 2005 level.
4.    Achieving 40 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030, with the help of transfer of technology and low cost international finance, including from Green Climate Fund.
5.    Creation of additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
6.    Adaptation of climate change by enhancing investments in development programmes in sectors vulnerable to climate change, particularly agriculture, water resources, Himalayan region, coastal regions, health and disaster management.
7.    Mobilisation of domestic and new and additional funds from developed countries to implement the above mitigation and adaptation actions in view of the resource required and the resource gap.
8.    Constructing capacities, create domestic framework and international architecture for quick diffusion of cutting edge climate technology in India and for joint collaborative R&D for such future technologies.

India and Germany sign 18 MoUs following Chancellor Merkel’s visit 
India and Germany have signed around 18 MoUs including a landmark deal for fast tracking business approvals and other aspects to facilitate operation of German companies in Asia’s 3rd largest economy. The signing of the MoUs marks Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to New Delhi. The agreement is unique and the first of its kind which will ensure single point of contact in Indian administration for German companies. Other agreements were for enhancing cooperation in fields such as trade, intelligence, clean energy and defence manufacturing. The pacts signed included joint declaration of intent between Union HRD ministry and the federal foreign office of Germany for the promotion of German as a foreign language in India as well as the promotion of modern Indian languages in Germany.

US, Japan and 10 Pacific Rim nations sign TPP agreement    
United States, Japan and 10 Pacific Rim nations have signed the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement for facilitating trade between US and the states. The agreement aims to lower trade barriers and increase worker protections besides standard setting for industries. 10 other countries which signed the agreement included Brunei, Australia, Chile, Canada, Mexico, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Vietnam and Singapore. China was a notable absentee in the partnership. TPP agreement includes close to 40% of the global economy.

Ex post factor gets approval for cooperation in blue economy

between India & Seychelles
Union Cabinet has provided ex post facto approval for protocol for cooperation in the field of blue economy signed between the two nations recently. Protocol lays down the modalities and mechanism of cooperation between the two parties for ocean studies as well as scientific exploration and exploitation of sea based resources, for sustainable development and economic purposes. It will enhance strategic cooperation in the field of blue economy while increasing commercial benefits from human resources expertise and technology export. Cooperation with Seychelles in the blue economy will provide data on ocean based resources as well as technology and expertise sharing in the field of R&D apart from furthering domestic innovation in ocean research and technology.

Protocol amending agreement between India & Vietnam for DTAA approved   
Currently, the DTAA between Indian and Vietnam was signed in 1994 and is undergoing amendment to meet internationally accepted standards. These include updation of A27 on Exchange of Information, addition of a new article on Assistance in Collection of Taxes and entry into Amending Protocol for this purpose. The agreement between the two nations will be amended for avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion regarding taxes on income.

Protocol amending Convention and Protocol between India & Israel approved   
Union Cabinet has approved an amendment to the Convention and Protocol between India and Israel for avoidance of DTAA and fiscal evasion regarding taxes on income and capital. Protocol provides globally accepted standards for effective exchange of information on tax matters such as bank data without domestic tax interest. It also holds that data provided from Israel regarding Indian residents can be shared with law enforcement agencies with authorisation from Competent Authority of Israel and vice versa. Existing DTAC between the two nations was signed in the 1990s.

UNCTAD releases Trade and Development Report   
UNCTAD released the Trade and Development Report 2015 at its Geneva HQ which found that the global economy is growing at 2.5% following 2008 financial meltdown and rebound in 2010. The growth rate for 2015 is expected to remain more or less unchanged from last year, at 2.5 per cent and developed nations are projected to grow at around 1.9 per cent, compared with 1.6 per cent in 2014.

The reasons for this include growth in the eurozone and Japan’s                                                                    moderate acceleration, although from very low rates. US is expected to continue post crisis growth trajectory and between 2012 and 2014, world merchandise trade increased between 2 to 2.5%.The report expects that India’s gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to grow at 7.5 per cent in 2015 as the pressure on current account deficit has been easing due to the lowering oil prices in the international market. India’s exports fell from 8.5% in 2013 to 3.2% in 2014 on account of negative trend in international economy.

Iran tests new guided long range ballistic missile Emad   
Iran has tested a guided long range ballistic missile what is possibly a violation of the nuclear agreement in July between Iran and world powers. Missile may violate terms of agreement arrived at in Vienna with 6 nations that placed restrictions on the ambitious missile programme of Iran. New missile Emad or pillar is a step up from Shahab-3 as it can be guided to the target. The country has produced missiles which can reach as far as Europe. As per the nuclear agreement, a heavy water plant in Arak will be redesigned into a light water reactor.

JETCO Protocol signed between India and Ecuador  
Measures to enhance bilateral trade and investment relations between the two nations were initiated with the signing of the Protocol for establishment of India Ecuador Joint Economic and Trade Committee/JETCO. JETCO will function as forum for discussion and promotional activities for trade and investment issues. During the year 2014-2015, the bilateral trade between the two nations stood at USD 1290.77 million.

Joint Declaration of Heads of Migration Authorities of the BRICS released
The declaration entitled Joint Declaration of the Heads of the Migration Authorities of the BRICS guided by the Ufa Declaration is a major milestone so far as orderly and legal migration among these nations is concerned. The declaration also vowed to combat transnational organised crime in line with the declaration.
FM of 20 nations susceptible to climate change launch Group V20
Finance Ministers of 20 nations vulnerable to climate change have launched V20 Group during the annual meeting of International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank in Lima, Peru recently. V20 has been formed to pool resources in a fight against global warming induced climate change.
It is the counterpart of G20, an industrial group. The establishment of the V20 was conceptualised in the 2013 – 2015 Costa Rica Action Plan of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF).

China and Indonesia sign 5.5 billion US dollars deal
China and Indonesia signed a 5.5 billion US dollars deal to build the first high-speed railway in Indonesia following the victory of Beijing in winning the construction project by beating Tokyo. Japan was long expected to build the railway but China entered the contest in 2015, and Tokyo’s bid was rejected in September 2015 after a chaotic bidding process that infuriated the Japanese companies. The project will be implemented by state-owned China Railway International and a consortium of Indonesian state companies.

UN General Assembly adopts text-based negotiations.

United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has adopted text-based negotiations on UN Security Council (UNSC) reforms. It will set the stage for talks on the UNSC reforms issue at its 70th session.The draft text-based negotiations include questions on equitable representation and increase in the membership of UNSC. India has welcomed the UNGA’s decision to carry forward the text and described the development as significant and
historic.

Now it needs to be adopted by consensus by all UN Member States in order reflect of the broad support of the international community to move forward on this issue. India is looking forward to early commencement of text-based negotiations with a view to securing concrete outcomes during the upcoming 70th Session of the UNGA.
It also has called upon all Member States of UN to constructively engage in this process so that the long pending
reform of the UNSC can be achieved to give it more power to address the global challenges more effectively.